Plum tomatoes are an absolute staple in many cultures and homes. They form the base of many sauces and recipes, and running out of them or not being able to find them can pose a bit of a challenge.
Luckily, there are a good couple of ingredients that can be used as substitutes for plum tomatoes. This article will take you through them and iron out the benefits of some of these options.
The good news is, there’s no need to panic. There are a couple of great plum tomato substitutes out there, and we’ve got you covered.
What is a plum tomato?
Plum tomatoes have been grown for centuries for their use in sauces and gravies. Each variety of tomatoes you come across has been cultivated and developed for a specific culinary use. Plum tomatoes are very much the sauce and gravy tomato.
Plum tomatoes have a distinctive oblong or oval shape. When you slice them open and look within, you will notice that they have fewer sections containing seeds than other tomatoes. This is especially so when compared to their rounder tomato cousins. Plum tomatoes have far more flesh than seeds, which is why they are structured so beautifully to make sauces and pastes. Plum tomatoes are the basis of many dishes, whether fresh or canned.
Plum tomato varieties
Here are a couple of the better-known and loved varieties of plum tomatoes:
Italian Plum Tomatoes
These are widely used for cooking up in pasta sauces and gravies. They are often canned, pickled, and made into chutneys or jams. This is the most common plum tomato and the most widely grown variety. When people think of plum tomatoes, this is often the only tomato that comes to mind. These tomatoes are often bright red in color and have an oval or oblong shape.
Small Plum Tomatoes
They are also referred to as the grape tomato. They are pretty much the size and shape of a grape, hence their name. These plum tomatoes are often used in salads, stir-fries, or roasted as a side dish. They are the oval cousin of cherry tomatoes. They are usually sweeter and a little firmer than cherry tomatoes.
Roma VF Plum Tomatoes
These are fast-boiling tomatoes that are often used in the canning process.
San Marzano Plum Tomatoes
San Marzano plum tomatoes have a pretty long and pointed shape with a little pointed tip. They are named after the town of origin and grow well in warmer areas.
4 Great Substitutes For Plum Tomatoes
Ok, so you’ve run out of plum tomatoes and the panic is setting in. Or, you can’t find them at your local grocery store. It’s going to be okay! There are so many different kinds of tomatoes out there, and quite a few of them are great substitutes for plum tomatoes.
Here are a couple of options of what to look for if you’re needing to substitute your plum tomatoes in a dish:
|This paste originates in Pennsylvania, which is where the Amish originate from– hence the name. This is a fantastic, cute-looking, heart-shaped tomato with a bright orange color. Their meaty structure makes them a good option for paste and sauce-making.
|This beautifully red hybrid variety of tomatoes has a lovely sweet and mild flavor. They can be cooked into a sauce or sliced and used in sandwiches, burgers, and salads.
|This tomato originates from Bulgaria and is a lovely dark red color. Sweet and full of flavor, this tomato tastes somewhat similar to plum tomatoes.
|This tomato variety hails from Slovakia / Czechia and has a lovely deep red flesh. This well-balanced tomato is a perfect substitute for plum tomatoes, should you want to make a sauce.
Preserving plum tomatoes.
Should you suspect you might run short of plum tomatoes or decide to store a batch as a preventative measure, here’s a guide just for you. When you come across an abundance of plum tomatoes, here’s what to do:
- Weigh 3 lbs of tomatoes and make sure you have a 1-quart canning jar. This can be scaled up depending on how many tomatoes and jars you can lay your hands on.
- Wash the tomatoes. You’re going to want to choose tomatoes that are firm and without any deep blemishes, so remove any with dark spots. Slice a tiny cross on the underside of the tomatoes.
- Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into the water for a minute or two.
- Drain the tomatoes and transfer them straight into a sink or basin of ice water.
- The skins will lift up at the base of the tomato, near the cut. Peel the skin off the tomatoes.
- Dip the jar or jars into a pot of hot water. Place the tomatoes into the jars and pour over two tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Place the tomatoes into the jar and push them down so that there is a little space on top. Don’t mash them.
- Try to ensure there are as few bubbles as possible in the jar, and seal the lid.
- Once the jar and the tomatoes have cooled, pop them in the fridge and use them whenever you need them.
Wrapping it up
So, the good news is that there are so many beautiful substitutions out there to replace the lovely plum tomato. All you need is a tomato that is firm and meaty in body, and you’ll be able to create the same wonderful sauce or dish that a plum tomato would ordinarily give you.
The ratio of seeds to flesh is what is key, so keep these substitutes in mind as you plan you plan out your substitution tomato.
Plum tomatoes are beautifully balanced in flavor as well so you really want to seek out those sweet, richly flavored tomatoes that are firm and well-structured.
Enjoy making your favorite sauces and tomato-based dishes!